The bailout bill, tipping points and conservatism
The fork in the road is before us, and conservatism is the harder road to take
“In the end they will lay their freedom at our feet and say to us, ‘Make us your slaves, but feed us.'” Dosteovsky’s Grand Inquisitor
In accepting the bailout bill, both Main Street and Wall Street have laid their freedom at the feet of the government. In my view, the bill will long be viewed as a tipping point for America, the point at which Main Street traded liberty for financial security, and Wall Street traded short-term solvency for future regulation of an unprecedented scope and intensity.
However, as Malcolm Gladwell pointed out in his book of the same name, a tipping point can be positive or negative – it is simply the level at which the momentum for change becomes unstoppable. Which change will it be? Will it be one of even more regulation and slavery, or, *if the bailout fails *and the citizens of the United States finally come to realize that market stability and financial security cannot be purchased, even for $700 billion, will it be the change in the form of the clarion call of Barry Goldwater?
“I have little interest in streamlining government or in making it more efficient, for I mean to reduce its size. I do not undertake to promote welfare, for I propose to extend freedom. My aim is not to pass laws, but to repeal them. It is not to inaugurate new programs, but to cancel old ones that do violence to the Constitution or that have failed their purpose, or that impose on the people an unwarranted financial burden. I will not attempt to discover whether legislation is “needed” before I have first determined whether it is constitutionally permissible. And if I should later be attacked for neglecting my constituents “interests, ” I shall reply that I was informed that their main interest is liberty and that in that cause I am doing the very best I can.” Barry Goldwater
As I was listening to analysis of the bailout bill on Bloomberg Radio, one commentator said something I will not soon forget. He noted that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were not the only government sponsored enterprises – in reality, *all banks *are GSE’s. Highly regulated, with the FDIC as a permanent backstop, banks are simply not independent. And that comment got me thinking.
We have come to a point in America where no one is responsible for their decisions. No one. Not the homeowners who do not pay their mortgages, not the Ivy League geniuses who came up with mortgage backed securities, not the rating agencies that rated them as AAA paper, not the GSE’s who guaranteed them, and not the banks that bought them. Gains have been privatized, and losses have been socialized.
Through this bailout bill, and Social Security, and Medicare, and Medicaid, and unemployment insurance, and welfare, and housing assistance, and mortgage interest deductibility, and a host of other federal, state and local programs, every individual in America is a government sponsored enterprise. Every last one of us. The dream of the socialists and communists that run the Democrat party has been fully realized, and they are now aided and abetted by the votes in Congress of the last defenders of freedom – the Republican Party. The damage that has just been done is incalculable and will only be reversed by citizens not yet born. The premise that irresponsibility should be subsidized has just been accepted – the only things left to work out are the details.
“A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves money from the public treasure. From that moment on the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most money from the public treasury, with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world’s great civilizations has been two hundred years. These nations have progressed through the following sequence: from bondage to spiritual faith, from spiritual faith to great courage, from courage to liberty, from liberty to abundance, from abundance to selfishness, from selfishness to complacency from complacency to apathy, from apathy to dependency, from dependency back to bondage” Alexander Tyler, writing about the fall of the Athenian Republic.
Ironically, by accepting the bailout bill, the American people actually thought they were voting themselves money from the public treasury. Through this “asset purchase plan”, the markets would stabilize, credit would flow, and our jobs and 401(k)’s would be saved. And why shouldn’t we do this? The Greatest Generation now votes to bankrupt their grandchildren through entitlements, the narcissistic baby boomers self-righteously demand the public’s money to satisfy their altruistic desires, and the upcoming generation expects to either start their first job at a six-figure salary or move back in with Mom. Why shouldn’t those who have been pulling the wagon for so long use the public’s money to ensure their security?
“…from dependency back to bondage.”
I tremble for my country, and my family. I will spend the next few days praying that John McCain will, finally, heed Barry Goldwater’s words and issue a challenge and not the outline of another program. I will pray that John McCain points the finger for the economic crisis at the government, where it belongs, and points out that Barack Obama’s Marxist philosophy and life’s work – what little work there is – have prepared him only to finally close the lock to the golden chains that now encircle us.
May God Almighty help us all.